I remember exactly when I realized that I'd be really into the idea of a non-diamond engagement ring. Mr. Octopus and I were in the midst of a four-day vacation to San Francisco to celebrate the end of my first year of teaching (and any teacher could tell you it really is something to celebrate!). We were poking around an antique shop in the Castro when I spotted it: a display case of antique gemstone rings.
I basically reacted like this:
but without the diaper. (Source.)
Mr. O and I really weren't talking marriage at all yet then, but I even said something like, "if you're ever thinking about asking me to marry you, I want a ring like that!"
Fast forward two years, and we had both realized that marriage was indeed in the cards for us. Mr. Octopus was super-nervous about choosing the right engagement ring, and asked for some guidance, which I was more than happy to provide. After some research, my requests were: aquamarine, white gold, squarish-shaped, with a diamond halo.
Here's what he came up with:
Please forgive this utterly non-artsy photography.
I basically fainted and died when he presented me with this ring. It is exactly what I had dreamed of, and I love it to (maybe) a slightly scary degree. It means so much to me that he took the time to save his money, research his options, and choose something that was exactly what I wanted.
Mostly, I've gotten lots of really kind compliments on my left finger jewelry. Unfortunately, though, I've also discovered that not everybody reacts with the googly eyes that I got upon seeing my not-quite-traditional ring. I've gotten comments that have ranged from a barely-disguised-as-polite "Oh. Well, that's.......pretty" all the way up to a burst of incredulous laughter, followed by, "do you like that?!"
At first, I felt really insulted when people made rude remarks, but you know what? Their problem, and their bad manners, not mine. This ring was an incredibly generous gift from the man who loves me, and it's a symbol of the lifelong commitment we're preparing to make to each other. Nothing anybody says could diminish what this ring means to me.
So here's what I've learned from my non-diamond-engagement-ring-having experience:
A big diamond ring is a legitimate engagement ring.
A small diamond ring is a legitimate engagement ring.
A gemstone ring is a legitimate engagement ring.
An unadorned metal band is a legitimate engagement ring.
A twisty tie can be an engagement ring, a rubber band can be an engagement ring, or (as I sometimes told Mr. O when I was waiting not-very-patiently for him to propose), a Ring Pop can be an engagement ring. Heck, you don't need an engagement ring at all. Whatever you and your fiance choose to symbolize the love, commitment, and partnership between the two of you is all you need to be engaged. If you want a big ol' diamond, that's fine! If you want nothing, that's cool too! Rock whatever you want to symbolize your commitment, and rock it proudly. Don't let anyone else's judgments get you down. The only people who get to assign a meaning to your ring are you and your future spouse.
How did you choose your engagement ring? What does it mean to you? Any other non-traditional rings out there?